Banner
A Tale of Two Mushrooms

In 1986, an expedition off the South-East coast of Australia near Tasmania, from depths of between...

Many Species Or One?

I’ve often wondered about the Scopes trial, and wanted to read a good account of it.  I...

Women and Authority

A recent article by Nury Vittachi, Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s...

Carbon, Oxygen, And Stars

Recently this headline on Real Clear Science caught my eye: Carbon-12 Nucleus Shaped Like Equilateral...

User picture.
picture for Hank Campbellpicture for Helen Barrattpicture for Sascha Vongehrpicture for Hontas Farmerpicture for Abhas Mitrapicture for Animesh Chatterjee
Robert H OlleyRSS Feed of this column.

Until recently, I worked in the Polymer Physics Group of the Physics Department at the University of Reading.

I would describe myself as a Polymer Morphologist. I am not an astronaut,

... Read More »

Blogroll
A few days ago, I was watching an episode of the Antiques Roadshow.  People were bringing their treasured objects for expert examination to the grounds of a stately house in St Ives, Cambridgeshire.  The items included an early pocket calculator by Sinclair (made locally), and a traction engine arrived in full steam.  But my ears really pricked up when a valuable jug bought for a fiver (in today’s money, perhaps $50) was identified as a Bellarmine Jug

In the 19th century, following the Enlightenment, the process of secularization seemed to be on a slow but unstoppable roll.  One consequence of this was the development of a view of history, whereby religion in general, Christianity in particular, and above all the Roman Catholic church, assumed the rôle of the enemy of all progress, and progress was by definition good.  Clerics were pictured as Asuras (in Hindu epic titanic beings perpetually at war with the Devas or gods) always opposing the scientists with their own Clerisy.

Sir Archibald Henry Bodkin, KCB (1862–1957) was our British Director of Public Prosecutions from 1920 to 1930.  He particularly took a stand against the publication of what he saw as ‘obscene’ literature.